Generations of researchers have been trying to find the secret to longevity, even though a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and healthy genes are all considered contributing factors.

According to estimates in 2021, out of the total population in the U.S., 0.27% were above 100 years of age. The prevalence of centenarians has been on an increasing trend.

Scientists now believe they have unlocked the blueprint for longevity in a recent study. Researchers from Boston University and Tufts Medical Center evaluated seven centenarians in North America, and found links between immune-specific patterns of aging and extreme human longevity.

The human body's immune system works by responding to infections and learning from exposure to prevent future infections. It is generally believed that the disease-fighting and healing ability of the human body declines with age, as the immune system becomes slower to respond.

However, a recent study, published in the journal Lancet eBiomedicine, revealed the case was different for those who lived beyond the age of 100.

According to the researchers who performed single-cell sequencing to assess the molecules in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, the immune profile of the centenarians did not follow the natural trends associated with aging.

The findings of the study suggest centenarians have certain protective factors that increase their ability to recover from infections.

"Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that enable (them) to recover from disease and reach extreme old ages," Tanya Karagiannis, another lead author from Tufts Medical Center, said.

"Centenarians, and their exceptional longevity, provide a 'blueprint' for how we might live more productive, healthful lives," according to George J. Murphy, a senior author from Boston University's School of Medicine.

Although the research team established a unique immunological ability as the key to longevity, it is still unknown if the ability is hereditary, naturally occurring, or caused by outside factors, Stefano Monti from Boston University's School of Medicine, a senior author of the study, said.

"The answer to what makes you live longer is a very complex one. There are multiple factors, there's the genetics – what you inherit from a parent, there's lifestyle, there's luck," Monti added.

A new study revealed that centenarians have certain protective factors that increase their ability to recover from infections. pixabay